Martha W.’s family knew she needed help, and she needed it now. She suffered from several serious medical conditions. As a result, she found it increasingly difficult to carry on with her activities of daily living, like cooking or getting dressed. Martha’s family had never looked into government assistance programs and became confused when they finally did. For example, what’s the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? Let’s look at some of the important benefits offered by each program.

First, the Basics

Both are programs offered and managed by the federal government. Also, both help with medical care.

Medicare is essentially a government health insurance policy that is available to a certain group of qualifying individuals. Workers pay taxes to cover future Medicare costs for themselves and their family members.

Medicaid is more of a public assistance program funded by public tax funds that cover healthcare expenses.

Qualifying for Medicare and Medicaid

The eligibility requirements for these programs are very different. For example, Medicare is generally available for people:

  • Age 65 or older;
  • Under age 65, but with disabilities; and
  • Who suffer from End Stage Renal Disease.

People may qualify for Medicaid if they meet:

  • Income limits;
  • Age requirements; or
  • Requirements specific to a certain program.

One important difference between the programs is that Medicare eligibility is not income-based, while Medicaid is. Additionally, both Medicare and Medicaid offer benefits with different requirements.

Benefits Provided by Medicare and Medicaid

Both offer more than one program. In fact, Medicaid programs can vary from state to state. We’ll just look at the programs offered by Alabama Medicaid.


  • Part A (hospital insurance) is premium-free for most people who paid Medicare taxes.
  • Part B (medical insurance) covers some doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.
  • Part D (prescription drug coverage) pays for some prescription drugs.


  • Medicaid for Children
  • Medicaid for Parents and Caretaker Relatives
  • Medicaid for Pregnant Women
  • Medicaid for the Elderly and Disabled
  • Medicaid in the Nursing Home
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer Program
  • Plan First Family Planning Program
  • Help Paying for Medicare Costs

People can apply for either program, depending on their needs.

The Application Process

Applying for Medicare is fairly easy. Just complete an online application. There’s no need to submit documentation.

On the other hand, Medicaid generally requires an application and many supporting documents.

Learn More About Medicare and Medicaid

Contact Bill Miller at 256-251-2137 to schedule an appointment. The attorneys at Miller Estate and Elder Law can explain the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and help your Medicaid application. Even better, we can help you with Medicaid planning to increase your chance of getting Medicaid and keeping as much property as possible. Though our office is located at 818 Leighton Avenue in Anniston, we serve clients in Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.